How do I advertise my dog walking services? Get Your Pet Thinking

Get a Facebook business page and use it strategically.

I’m sure you’ve got a business account set up on Facebook, but how are you using it? Don’t just post cute dog photos and viral videos of cats! Sure, they’re adorable and your audience probably loves them. But, your business page is meant for business after all, and you should take advantage of it.

You can add your phone number and email address, which will make it easy for potential customers to reach out to you. You can also set up that tiny button underneath the cover photo to present a call-to-action to your audience. These simple to-dos are endless on Facebook! Do some research or hire some help to make sure you’re using it to its potential!

Get licensed & insured!

In case you aren’t familiar, PSI Exams are tests that you can take to gain more credentials. There are licenses you can acquire which will help you get insured more easily, and they also help you establish expert status in your field.

You can’t just LOVE dogs if you want to make it in the pet industry. You’ve got to show that you’re dedicated, educated, and certified.

Read about these 4 dog-walking claims that totaled more than $74K. 4. Make a plan to market your dog-walking services. When you start your dog-walking service you’ll want to get clients…fast! Fortunately, there are many ways to market your dog-walking services to local pet owners that cost little to nothing. First, know your target audience. Why would someone want a midday dog walk? Pet owners with new puppies who can’t hold it until their person comes home from work can benefit from the services of a dog walker. Pet owners with adult dogs can use dog walkers to help their dogs who may be overweight and in need of additional exercise. Senior dogs often become incontinent, so a midday walk helps prevent accidents in their home. Essentially, all dogs can benefit from the extra TLC that a midday dog walk provides! Issuing a press release to local papers announcing the opening of your dog-walking service is a great (and free!) way to garner media coverage for your new business. Depending on your budget, you can also consider taking out an ad in a local paper or community newsletter. Online marketing—from your business website to social media sites like Facebook and YouTube—offers numerous ways to get the word out to local pet owners.

Check out this free PSI Ebook: Pet-Sitting Policies & Procedures to Consider. 3. Know the Risks. As you set your policies, you also want to be aware of the risks of specific dog-walking services. For example, you may have a client ask that her dog be walked off leash. Dogs certainly enjoy running and playing off leash, but this can present risks and liabilities. Some municipalities have leash laws that do not permit dogs to be off leash ever, while others allow dogs to be off leash in designated areas only. Many pet sitters let clients know upfront that all dogs walked will be on leash. Some dog walkers who do accommodate requests for off-leash walking have the pet owners sign a waiver. Business Insurers of the Carolinas, PSI’s Preferred Provider for liability insurance and bonding for professional pet sitters and dog walkers in the U.S., advises professional pet-care providers to be alert when walking dogs. Some of the most costly insurance claims result from dog bites and the most frequent type of dog bite occurs when a sitter is on a walk and allows a third party to get too close to a pet.

Check out PSIs free download sharing 33 low to no-cost marketing ideas to try for your pet-sitting or dog-walking business this year.

Offering dog-walking services is just good business. Dog walking brings in a steady income which can help increase your pet-care business cash flow. And with pet ownership at an all-time high (83.3 million dogs in the U.S.!), the need for dog-walking services is greater than ever! Before you start your own dog-walking service, or add dog walking to the services your pet-care business offers, Pet Sitters International offers these four tips to help you successfully offer dog-walking services: 1. Educate yourself. An understanding of canine behavior is important when walking dogs. Staying up-to-date on your pet first aid skills is important as well. You’ll also want to be knowledgeable about collars, harnesses and leashes. Dog collars come in a variety of types, and the dog owner may not always have the best one for his or her dog. Knowledge of dog collars, harnesses and leashes will help you recommend the right one for the dog and enable you to walk the dog more easily and safely. The right collar depends on the dog, the situation and the dog walker. Whatever collar you use should be approved by the dog’s owner and used correctly. 2. Set policies and stick with them. Establishing your dog-walking service requires that you set up procedures and policies in advance. Of course, you can modify your policies as needed, but it’s extremely important to have some basic guidelines established and written down ahead of time. This prevents you from having to decide upon policies on the fly when a client asks a question. If you have staff dog walkers, it is important that you make them aware of your company’s policies as well. Policies you will want to decide upon include your business hours, dog-walking hours, your service area and how you will handle clients’ keys. You will also want to determine your cancellation policy, a policy for walking dogs in inclement weather and how you will handle dogs with behavioral issues.

How to Get Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Clients! Marketing Guide for Pet Businesses